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FOMO - The Pain is Real!

Biz Bites - Weekly Leadership Tips with Darlene Huff

What? During a coaching call with an emerging leader, I asked her if she knew what FOMO was. Her response was immediate and visceral, “I sure do and the pain is real!”

She is a new mom returning to work after her maternity leave. While at home, she suffered from FOMO around work. Was she missing out on opportunities and experiences at work that might set her back when she returned? Once she returned to work, her FOMO was focused on events at home. Was she missing out on crucial parenting moments?

How can she learn to balance her fear of missing out between home life and work life?

Coined in 2004 by Harvard student, Patrick McGinnis, FOMO - fear of missing out - is defined as “anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on social media” (Source: This defin

ition has expanded beyond the boundaries of social media and is now pervasive in our daily lives. Early studies show that the effect of FOMO can paralyze our ability to make a decision as something better may come along.

So What?

The ‘so what’ of FOMO is it can lead to various stages and degrees of hopelessness and helplessness. Leading her life from FOMO certainly impacted her resiliency or her ability to bounce back. She was overcome with fatigue, stress, and even lost sleep. Images on social media only compounded her sense of overwhelm. FOMO not only increases anxiety about what expereince is being missed, it decreased the momentary pleasure of the current experience.

So What Now?

Together we worked with the 3 R’s of Resiliency:

• Reframe

• Refocus

• Redirect

Reframe by reminding herself of her real connections, the people in her life that she most trusted, and what a dee

p sense of comfort those relationships are for her. She feels a great sense of belonging with these people from both her personal and work life.

Refocused her by looking at the loss she was feeling and finding the hidden gifts. Focusing her on gratitude certainly helped her navigate through her FOMO.

Redirecting her to the future by being embracing the present. Giving her the perspective to enjoy the day as it is a step forward to her goals and dreams for the future.

Does she still feel FOMO?

Oh yes! Now, she is more self-aware of those feeling when they start to creep in, and, instead, of letting them consume her, she has a structure to lead herself to enable the moment.



I'm Darlene

With over 25 years of building successful, cohesive, and inspired teams, Darlene Huff is an experienced and certified coach specializing in executive development. Through The Coaching Suite, she guides executives and next level leaders to fine tune their skills to meet the demands of our new world of business.

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